As we continue our celebration of NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week and the important contributions women in residential construction have on promoting, training, advancing and adding more women to the field, one NAHB member and PWB Council member recently discussed the importance of prioritizing an inclusive work environment that encompasses not only gender, but also generational, diversity.
“Putting significant work into appreciating and respecting the various generations and creating an environment where each generation is represented and respected for its contributions to your team can increase inclusivity — if it starts from the top down,” says Juli Bacon, president of JB Consulting Systems, LLC and Bacon Building & Maintenance LLC, and a member of the PWB council at the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish County in Bellevue, Wash.
A truly diverse workforce embraces diversity of many different factors, including age, ethnicity, disability, race/color, language, and gender. Organizations comprised of individuals and teams with a diverse mix of experiences, capabilities, and work styles tend to have a broader set of ideas, perspectives, and approaches to issues, enhancing the performance of the team and innovation within the business, adds Bacon.
“Employers have often thought that bringing in ‘new blood’ to the organization would help give their workplace some added depth,” Bacon says. “The same goes for those employers who build teams with a diversity of experience, work styles, race, gender, and other factors. When solving a problem, you need to look at it from several different perspectives. A diverse team will approach a problem in a more holistic manner.”
When employers work to foster inclusivity among generations at work, employees feel more engaged and are more likely to contribute to the organization's business results. Inclusive workplaces have employees who offer innovative ideas and unique solutions to problems, strong employee morale, and high levels of employee satisfaction.
To foster a collaborative work environment, leaders and business owners must find ways to bridge the gaps between baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials and the incoming Generation Z to fill those one-size does-not-fit-all employee requirements, especially when it comes to inclusion. A truly inclusive workplace creates an environment where employees feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued as team members.
This post is adapted from a recent article in Building Women magazine, a publication of NAHB.